Archive for the ‘English - general issues’ Category

New English Language Learning Method To Be Introduced – Mahdzir

Monday, March 20th, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, March 20 (Bernama) — A new English Language teaching and learning method via online, the Cambridge Accessible Tests (CATs), will be introduced with the focus on rural students.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said this pioneer programme would start by the year-end involving about 40 rural primary and secondary schools and expected to be implemented fully in one or two years.

He said the programme was developed with the cooperation of Cambridge Malaysia Education and Development Trust (CMEDT), and a working committee headed by Education director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamed Yusof would be formed to monitor the implementation of CATs.

“I think this is a very good programme for students, especially those in the rural areas who are less exposed to the English language,” he told a press conference after an explanation session on the English Language Education Implementation Strategy Towards Students’ Proficiency, here, today.

Also present were CMEDT executive chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad.

Mahdzir said the CATs design was developed by CMEDT and ready for use. In fact, he added, English Language teachers had been trained at the English Language Training Centre (ELTC), Education Ministry, to implement the programme.

Meanwhile, ELTC director Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar said CATs functioned as an additional English Language teaching and learning method involving nine levels of mastery at the primary and secondary school levels.

“Students’ English Language proficiency will be tested from one level to another and if they can master all the nine levels, that means their proficiency is very good.

“When students have completed the nine levels of learning in primary school, they will start again from the first level in secondary school,” he said.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1339508

‘English mastery vital to the nation’

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Graduates and school leavers have been told that they must have a strong command of the English language to boost their employability in the private sector.

About 80% of surveyed Malaysian employers rated English proficiency as equal to or more important than the knowledge or skills of potential employees, said Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon at Star Media Group’s Power Talks business series.

The chairman of Royal Selangor International also said that a 2011 survey by Prestariang Systems revealed that 93.3% of respondents from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry viewed a good grasp of English as very important.

“As long as poor English proficiency remains unaddressed, graduate employability will continue to be worrying.

“If you are not proficient in English, you will be handicapped when seeking career advancement,” said Yong, adding that mastery of the language was crucial in a world that was rapidly embracing globalisation.

In the Power Talks session yesterday, attended by about 200 people, Yong captivated the audience with his experience helming Royal Selan­gor, previously known as Selangor Pewter.

Making his point: Yong sharing his views on English language proficiency at the Power Talks event at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya.

Making his point: Yong sharing his views on English language proficiency at the Power Talks event at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya.

The audience was enthralled by his one-hour talk and the majority of their questions was centred on the state of English proficiency in Malaysia.

Being in the inner circle of the group responsible for introducing the Dual Language Programme (DLP) in Malaysian schools, Yong fielded questions on the subject with ease.

It has been welcomed by many, but the DLP has also been a bone of contention in the domain of Malaysian education.

Its critics have argued that the DLP will result in the deterioration of Bahasa Melayu as the national language.

Chinese education group Dong Zong has also rejected the programme, branding it a bane to the teaching of mother tongue lan­­guages.

Yong said the DLP would only be implemented in schools that have met prerequisites set by the Education Ministry.

He also said that the current state of English proficiency among SPM leavers was worrying.

In concluding his talk, Yong said that English proficiency was a key catalyst to the nation’s development, since Malaysia was an export-reliant economy.

“Everybody will be impacted by the education system, regardless of who you are.

by GANESHWARAN KANA
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/05/english-mastery-vital-to-the-nation-proficiency-in-the-language-a-catalyst-for-development-says-roya/#wcCoFxA5WHSCpySX.99

Strengthening usage of English

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

UNIVERSITI Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) and the Cambridge Malaysian Education And Development Trust (CMEDT) will work to strengthen the usage of English Language in the country.

UPSI and CMEDT, an organisation aiming to advance education in Commonwealth countries, signed a Letter of Intent to launch a pilot project, Cambridge Accessible Tests (CATs), with UPSI.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the joint effort by UPSI and CMEDT marks the beginning of the journey to enhance students’ acquisition of English.

“It is also part of the ministry’s effort to redesign higher education as well as to improve quality and the standards of English among our graduates,” he said at the launching ceremony last Monday.

Idris said the deployment of CATs – an online learning platform which is calibrated with the Common European Framework of Reference – would address the “urgent need” for higher learning institutions to develop “self-directed graduates” who are proficient in English.

“CATs will enable students to learn and improve their proficiency in English at their own pace, promoting self-directed learning.

“This would make students not only recipients of knowledge, but also co-curators of knowledge,” he said.

Idris says the joint effort marks the beginning of the journey to enhance students’ use of English.

Idris says the joint effort marks the beginning of the journey to enhance students’ use of English.

The enrichment programme will be carried out from the September intake this year, in addition to the existing university English courses in UPSI. Studies on its effectiveness will be conducted later.

CMEDT executive chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said the pilot project will cover four principal areas of English – speaking, reading, writing and listening.

“CATs was specially developed and formulated in a manner where it is in full synergy with the teaching and learning process to ease students’ mastery of English accuracy and fluency,” he said.

by LEE CHONGHUI
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/02/12/strengthening-usage-of-english/#y1Qov3uZ8refcdus.99

Strengthening usage of English

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

UNIVERSITI Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) and the Cambridge Malaysian Education And Development Trust (CMEDT) will work to strengthen the usage of English Language in the country.

UPSI and CMEDT, an organisation aiming to advance education in Commonwealth countries, signed a Letter of Intent to launch a pilot project, Cambridge Accessible Tests (CATs), with UPSI.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the joint effort by UPSI and CMEDT marks the beginning of the journey to enhance students’ acquisition of English.

“It is also part of the ministry’s effort to redesign higher education as well as to improve quality and the standards of English among our graduates,” he said at the launching ceremony last Monday.

Idris said the deployment of CATs – an online learning platform which is calibrated with the Common European Framework of Reference – would address the “urgent need” for higher learning institutions to develop “self-directed graduates” who are proficient in English.

“CATs will enable students to learn and improve their proficiency in English at their own pace, promoting self-directed learning.

“This would make students not only recipients of knowledge, but also co-curators of knowledge,” he said.

Idris says the joint effort marks the beginning of the journey to enhance students’ use of English.

Idris says the joint effort marks the beginning of the journey to enhance students’ use of English.

The enrichment programme will be carried out from the September intake this year, in addition to the existing university English courses in UPSI. Studies on its effectiveness will be conducted later.

CMEDT executive chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said the pilot project will cover four principal areas of English – speaking, reading, writing and listening.

“CATs was specially developed and formulated in a manner where it is in full synergy with the teaching and learning process to ease students’ mastery of English accuracy and fluency,” he said.

UPSI vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Zakaria Kasa said CATs is a chance for students to “soar upwards” as it is an additional platform which helps them to “conquer” their command of the language.

by LEE CHONGHUI
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/02/12/strengthening-usage-of-english/#8iVxmLSm4XEfr4wl.99

Go the extra mile to teach English, teachers urged

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Teachers have been urged to go the extra mile to boost the level of English proficiency among students.

“We should not be too parochial. We have to accept that English is the international language and it is vital to be in the forefront at the international stage,” said National Parent-Teacher Associations Colla­bo­­rative Council president Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hasan.

He called for a quantum leap to help students improve their language skills.

“Necessary steps have to be taken to make sure that we are on par with other countries, especially Singapore,” he said.

Dr Mohamad Ali said that firstly, the teachers themselves should be proficient to teach English.

“There is not enough emphasis on the teachers. In fact, we are trying our best to get teachers from other countries to volunteer to teach English here. These are only temporary measures.

“We must get our priorities right. We need specialised English and literature teachers who can cope with the coaching, delivering and the speaking of English language in schools,” Dr Mohamad Ali said.

He added that Malaysia was still emphasising on “exam-oriented language”.

“Maybe programmes such as Eng­lish communication skills should be introduced on weekends or during school holidays,” he said.

The National Union of the Tea­ching Profession president Kamaro­zaman Abd Razak stressed the need for more teachers with the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) qualification.

Many teachers only took up the language as a minor in their tertiary education, he said.

“Besides, the Education Ministry has too many programmes sometimes.

“The teachers have to be away for a certain period for courses and other activities and this will disrupt the teaching process in schools.

“On the part of students, some of them don’t see how English will benefit them. We see such pro­blems at schools in the rural areas as compared to cities and urban areas,” Kamarozaman said.

He urged teachers to discuss with parents on ways to deal with this.

Other steps could include orga­nising English-oriented activities such as public speaking or quizzes.

“Schools can also hold their weekly assemblies, sports day, speech day or any other activities in English,” he said.

“This will force the students to converse in English and they will be able to pick it up from there.”

On Jan 1, Bernama reported that Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman hoped all state assemblymen would take initiatives to improve the command of English among primary school children in their constituencies.

This is important to ensure the pupils would perform better in the UPSR this year after the state recorded a below-par performance in 2016.

“The UPSR format changed last year and it was quite difficult for teachers and students, indirectly causing a deterioration in UPSR results for English and Science subjects.

by  ROYCE TAN.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/22/go-the-extra-mile-to-teach-english-teachers-urged/

Address illiteracy in English first, says MYReaders

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: For community-based initiatives like MYReaders, it all began from an awareness about the level of literacy among youths, especially in underprivileged communities.

“I was volunteering at a camp for youths. As I handed out forms to be filled, I realised that some were he­sitating.

“They had to refer to their MyKad to write their name and IC number. Then it dawned on me. It’s not just English proficiency but an issue of illiteracy which needs to be addressed too,” said MYReaders representative Alex Lim.

MYReaders is a non-profit orga­ni­sation set up in 2015 to help students learn to read in English using a structured, research-based programme.

“With increased literacy, we can really see a leap in students’ self-esteem and confidence to learn English, and this is when their proficiency will start to really improve,” said Lim.

He said one of the best remedial steps he had tried was to provide students with one-on-one support through mentoring.

“In a group setting, they will just become more withdrawn. The best thing for them is peer tutoring.

“Our vision is that one day all students should be able to read proficiently,” he said, adding that the SPM and national syllabus required students to be able to demonstrate a high level of reading comprehension.

The Star ran a story yesterday about the declining standard of English among Malaysians.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/22/address-illiteracy-in-english-first-says-myreaders/

Abang Johari: We will continue policy of English as official language

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

KUCHING: The state government will continue its policy of adopting English as the official language of the state with Bahasa Malaysia.

“It is important for the people to uphold the English language that has become an important communication tool across the globe.

“The state’s education system is still open (liberal). Thank God the level of English among the people here is still good.

“That is why the late Tok Nan (Tan Sri Adenan Satem) adopted English as the official language of Sarawak apart from Bahasa Malaysia,” said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“I will also pursue this policy so that English will remain an official language of the state,” he said at the Save SMK St Teresa’s Nite fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Pointing out that there should not be any issue to prioritise English at the same level as Bahasa Malaysia, Abang Johari said education “is about moulding oneself to get extra knowledge.”

“This is so considering the emerging economies of today that leads towards digital economy.

“When we attend overseas conferences, English is widely used, as it is a universal language.

“If you don’t know how to communicate in English, you will feel isolated at that conference,” he said.

Adenan, who passed away on Jan 11, has been a strong advocate for the use of English in Sarawak.

Abang Johari announced a further allocation of RM500,000 from the state government for the building of St Teresa’s new school block that was razed on Oct 29 last year. This is on top of RM1mil pledged by Adenan last year.

The fire damaged the school hall, teacher’s office, library, prayer room, counselling and music rooms including workshops.

The school needed to raise RM8.2mil to build a new block, including additional classrooms.

Saturday’s fundraising also saw Sabati (the charitable Association of Wives of Ministers and Assistant Ministers of Sarawak) pledged RM50,000 while Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof donated RM20,000 to the school. Tan Sri Leonard Linggi Jugah of Tun Jugah Foundation donated RM30,000.

St Teresa will hold events this year, including concerts, to raise the needed funds.

Abang Johari also pledged to match the fundraising amount ringgit to ringgit.

“Mission schools such as St Teresa have played an important role in producing quality human capital in the country.

“These schools have produced a lot of intellectuals who have the role to build Sarawak, to build the society.

by GERYL OGILVY.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/22/abang-johari-sarawak-to-keep-english-as-official-language/

English proficiency still a big problem for many M’sian grads

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is ranked 12th out of 72 countries based on English skills, according to a proficiency index done by Education First, a global organisation founded in Sweden.

The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden were in the top three positions. Singapore is the highest ranked Asian country at No. 6.

That sounds fairly good for Malaysia. But is it really?

Malaysia Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said there was still a major problem among job seekers, especially fresh graduates, SPM and diploma holders.

Some of them could not even construct proper sentences nor convey the message in a conversation, he said. He related his experience interviewing a job seeker who spoke in Bahasa Malaysia despite being questioned in English.

“After the third response, I got irritated and asked him ‘what’s your problem?’

“He said he could understand my questions but he could not speak English.

“And we’re talking about a university graduate where everything else looks all right on paper,” said Shamsuddin.

He said there was a need for students to improve their communication skills both orally and in writing.

“One of the ways is to take up short courses which will involve some funding but if they cannot do that, they can try watching some videos and try to improve their English.

“It is also important for school authorities to come up with programmes for students to make them communicate in English such as selecting a day or two every week where students are only allowed to speak English,” he said.

In the Salary Surveys 2016 by MEF, it found that more than 90% of respondents indicated the need for graduates to improve their English proficiency to become more employable.

Malaysia scored 431 in reading under the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2015, which is still way below the global average score of 493.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/21/english-proficiency-still-a-big-problem-for-many-msian-grads/

Manglish getting more mangled

Saturday, January 21st, 2017
Errors on page: An exercise done in class by a secondary school student is riddled with spelling mistakes.

Errors on page: An exercise done in class by a secondary school student is riddled with spelling mistakes.

PETALING JAYA“Before you cross the strict, use your ase”.

Understand that? Not likely, because even Manglish is getting mangled in Malaysia.

In case you’re wondering what the sentence means, it was a student wanting to say: “Before you cross the street, use your eyes.”

There are other examples.

“The school are so many teacher and friend. I can read the book in this school.”

“We in deed very conscent of student safety…” and “It is beyond our limit as it held at outside of campus”.

The last two were excerpts from a press release from the student representative council of a local university.

If local universities are that bad, one can figure that sentences churned out by secondary school students have left volunteer teachers horrified.

These teachers found that some students struggled to write their own name.

Glaring mistakes: A press release issued by the student representative council of a local university is filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

Glaring mistakes: A press release issued by the student representative council of a local university is filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

“Some even felt the need to produce their MyKad just to write their name and IC number. This shows that they have difficulty managing the alphabet and numbers,” said MYReaders government and external relations officer Alex Lim.

MYReaders is a non-profit organisation set up in 2015 to help many Malaysian students learn to read in English using a structured, research-based programme.

It has estimated that 10% of students in half the secondary schools are illiterate in English.

Lim said many of the students were reading at kindergarten level even while they are in upper secondary classes.

There were possibilities that some of these students faced learning difficulties such as dyslexia, he said.

“In a lot of cases, many of them just cannot read. This is more prevalent in the rural areas,” said Lim, who was a fellow with Teach For Malaysia.

Teach For Malaysia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that aims to end education inequity in the country by sending teachers to high-need schools.

He said having a low self-esteem affected the students greatly and they hated to be reminded that they cannot read.

Lim said one of the best remedial steps he had tried was to remove these students and tutor them one-on-one.

“In a group setting, they will just become more withdrawn. The best thing for them is peer tutoring. And that only works if the mentor is committed enough.

“Our vision is that students should be able to read,” he said, adding that our SPM and national syllabus required students to be able to answer comprehensive questions.

“Are they able to answer them? Are they able to even understand?”

Tay Sue Yen, who taught in an urban school, said most students were able to understand simple spoken English but were not able to spell or write in the language.

by ROYCE TAN.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/21/manglish-getting-more-mangled-teachers-horrified-at-students-terrible-command-of-english/

Bid to get MUET global recognition

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is set to become an internationally-recognised English qualification.

Malaysia Examination Council (MPM) chairman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said efforts were underway to align the Malaysian test with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

“The plan is to have the new test and specification match the European standards so that it can be marketed internationally especially for international students planning to further their studies in Malaysia,” he told a press conference at Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia.

MUET is the English language competency examination taken by local students as a requirement to enter local public and private universities.

“The European framework is a benchmark (for English proficiency) and this would make the local test comparable to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS),” he said.

Prof Mohamed Mustafa said the decision to have the Malaysian test benchmarked against the European framework was made based on a study done by MPM, the Performance and Delivery Unit (PADU), the Education Ministry and Cambridge English Language, England, last year.

The study is to ascertain if MUET matches the standards outlined in the CEFR for ascertaining language proficiency.

Based on the findings of the report by Cambridge English Language, he said it showed the Malaysian test has an “almost similar” standard with the framework.

“This means that highly competent candidates would score a high band in both the tests,” he said.

He said the study revealed that Band 6 in MUET was equivalent to Level C2 in CEFR.

Both Band 6 and Level C2 are the highest grade one can score in these examinations.

He said Cambridge English Language would be helping and advising the MUET Test Syllabus and Specification Aligning Committee to ensure the English examination matches the European framework and was accepted internationally.

Prof Mohamed Mustafa added that the fine-tuning exercise was expected to be completed in 18 months.

He said MPM was planning to launch “MUET on Demand” in 2018, a form of e-testing that would enable candidates to take the examination at any time, rather than the fixed sessions held in March, July and Novem­ber each year.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/12/08/bid-to-get-muet-global-recognition-english-test-to-meet-european-standards/